Showing posts from July, 2008

Off-Topic: Favorite 10 SciFi Films

I used to read a lot of science fiction as a kid. Although most people associate sci fi with mainstream stuff like Star Wars and Star Trek (both of which I enjoy as well), there are other sci fi movies that also incorporate a lot meaning, mythology and social commentary. Most "sci fi" films are just crappy action/horror films with horrible special effects masquerading as science fiction films.

Here are 10 films (other than Star Wars, Star Trek and the Matrix) that show a lot of depth and complexity, as well as kick ass. The first 5 films involve future cops and/or a lot of action. The latter 5 films are much truer to the spirit of science fiction, which involves social commentary through the writer's imagined but fully realized universe.

1) Minority Report: Of all the Phillip K. Dick movie adaptations (Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Paycheck), Minority Report is the best. Although Blade Runner is a notable runner up and Total Recall is a complex and entertaining t…

Drop 15 Pounds in 6 Weeks

"I am 26 years old and in the Air Force. I am currently in Iraq and have been for about 10 weeks. I have been working out 6 days per week and still have not had noticeable gains, or actually weight loss, since that is what I am aiming for. I am 5'6" and weigh 216 lbs. My ideal weight is 185 lbs. or so. I do cardio 4 days per week and hour per day, combined with at least 30 minutes of strength training. Bottom line is I have 6 weeks left over here and want to drop at least 15-20 lbs. in that time frame. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you for your time!"

SSgt Branden W. Streett
407th AEG
Ali Air Base Command Post

My Answer: Good to hear from an Airman. My father served in the Air Force before I was born. Before I answer your question, let me tell you I don't know exactly what you're doing in your strength workouts to make an accurate assessment.

*A side note here readers: if you're going to ask me for training advice, do tell me in de…

Off-Topic: Millenials

So over at the T-nation website, I read a provocative article by Mike Mahler on sledgehammer/sandbag training. Although I like odd lifts, I was moved more by his observations on a new generation of lifters:

"I confess: I do not have a favorable impression of young men in the 16-to-24-year-old age group. I get emails from them on a daily basis, and in my experience they're looking to be spoon-fed free information. The free articles on my website (not to mention the thousands on T-Nation) aren't enough. Using them would require some research, God forbid, and that would eat into their PlayStation time. Instead they ask me questions like this:

"What's the best program in the world for building big guns?"
"What supplements should I be taking?" (Hint: If you don't have any money, the answer is none. Focus on food.)
"How can I get a six-pack in time for spring break?" (This is typically asked a week before spring break.)
"In the past…

Indian Cuisine and Muscle Tone

Q: "I am based in India and read your interesting article on I would be obliged if you can guide me in the following case. I am a forty year old guy weighing approximately 105 Kg with the height of 5 feet and 9 inches. Per my doctor my ideal weight should be around 80 kgs. I have been able to reduce my weight from 112 kgs to the current 105 kgs. 
"I am going to the gym everyday and devoting thirty minutes each to weight training and cardio. I do one body part weight training every day and thereafter cardio. Hence I cover chest, shoulder, back, biceps, triceps, legs weight training in a week with half an hour of cardio every day. 
"Do you think that the above routine is sufficient for weight loss? Also I would like to know whether cardio should be done before the weight training or after the weight training in order to be more effective. Kindly reply keeping my objective (i.e weight loss and toned body) in mind." 
Regards,  Manu 

My Answer: Congr…

Magic Number of Sets

Q:"I ordered your book recently, Strength and Physique: The Articles. I am a bit confused. On one hand you say, if one chooses to do the 3x a week routine, do 3 sets of each body part. But upon reading further I see things all over the place of 5-8 sets of 4 reps, etc. and no mention of what you stated in the beginning of the book. Can I please have some clarification, because at this point I'm more confused than before I got your book."

Sean H.

My Answer: Sean, I don't think it says anywhere in my book that if you do a 3 times per week program that your sets are fixed at 3 sets per body part. There are certainly training phases that have 3-4 sets per body part, and I know I've recommended 3 sets per body part in answer to certain questions posed by people. Perhaps you can point out the chapter and page where I say dogmatically training 3 times requires 3 sets per body part, no more, no less.

If you are familiar with my articles, then you would know …

Shotgun Meets EDT

Q:Hello Coach, bought your book last week on Amazon. Can't wait to get it. In the meantime I have a question about the Shotgun Method. I would like to know your opinion on this setup:

- 3 exercises as you recommended, A-B & C.
- A 20 minute window for each and performed as many sets as possible in the time allowed.
- Example: Deadlifts (20 min.)
Week 1: 8 sets of 5 with 80% of one rep max
Week 2: try to beat the number of sets in 20 min.

I'm sure you understand what kind of progression I mean. So for 3 exercises, my workout is about one hour. That sounded good to me. Would you still called it Shotgun Method?"

2nd question: If my lagging part is the quadriceps, do you recommend I train them in each troubleshooting session? Leg press, leg extension? What's your favorite? I saw there was a chapter in your book on quad blasting... can't wait!

Thanks in the meantime!

My Answer: Thanks for purchasing my book, Danny! I know you'll enjoy it. Yeah, to answe…

Determining Your Ideal Rep Range

"Hi Coach,

"I am starting your Shotgun Training next week, but I got one concern. For the first shotgun I plan to do deadlifts, seated cable rows and bench press. Is this an issue if I follow with an incline bench press exercise as my weak point in the trouble shooting workout? Do you think 5x5 is an acceptable format, even though I would have trained using normal bench press in 8x4-6 the day before?"

"Thanks for your time.

Kind Regards,

My Answer: I got to tell you, when I saw your UK email, I thought you were one of those lottery scam/spams. You Brits having been sending a lot of those lately, enough to give the Nigerians a run for their money.

Anyway Alex, yes, it's perfectly fine to troubleshoot with incline presses. After all, you're looking to bring up weak points in either your physique or strength. The incline press is a common weak point among beginning strength enthusiasts, especially when you compare the poundages of people's incline pr…